This report summarizes the planning process and presents a revised mission statement, key goals for the Sheridan Center in alignment with this mission, and a five-year plan (2021-2026) of activities to enable the Center to reach these goals.
The Sheridan Center seeks to provide a place where all learners can grow, interdisciplinary collaborations can form, and educators can experiment with different modalities of teaching and learning. At the core of our work is a commitment to educational excellence, equity and access through evidence-based, reflective practices. Through educational partnerships at Brown and globally, we advance the university’s mission and create teaching and learning communities dedicated to improving learner success and supporting educators’ professional growth.
Who We Serve
Our programs, services and resources are available to all members of the Brown teaching and learning community, including full-time and part-time faculty, postdoctoral fellows, teaching fellows and teaching assistants, undergraduates, staff and administrators.
What We Do
Major initiatives of the Sheridan Center include:
● The Brown Learning Collaborative, offering rigorous academic courses for undergraduate teaching fellows and evidence-based course design institutes for faculty and GTAs, to enhance student learning in key liberal arts skill areas, such as writing, problem-solving, and research.
● Inclusive teaching, embedded in Sheridan programs and offered as customized workshops for departments, drawing upon pedagogical research in the disciplines.
● Writing, academic tutoring, and English language expertise to offer direct support to students and to develop peer fellows and tutors, as well as faculty and department practices to help all students succeed as learners and communicators.
● Interdisciplinary learning communities, such as certificates on reflective teaching and course design, a Junior Faculty Fellows program, dissertation writing groups, and writing and problem-solving course design institutes.
● Assessment and research support for program review, cross-institutional grants supporting educational innovation, and initiatives to enhance teaching and learning at Brown.
We also offer:
● Confidential consultations – classroom observations; early student feedback; consultations on inclusive teaching, course design, writing pedagogy, assessment, student evaluations, and graduate and undergraduate TA training.
● Services to enhance student learning – Excellence at Brown pre-orientation program on writing, conversation partners program, classroom-based writing workshops on topics such as peer review, academic tutoring.
● Educational research and assessment – collaboration on course and curricular assessment, consultations on the scholarship of teaching and learning, assistance with evaluation sections of postsecondary educational grants. The Center also has a resource library open to the Brown community.
● Community - programs and projects that bring together faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduates from across the disciplines.
Our 2020-21 Annual Report documents the Center's activities, outcomes, scholarship, and the people who support our work. Please also see this document for our Departmental Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DDIAP), which documents the Center's contribution to Brown's Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion.
This one-page overview summarizes how we evaluate our programs and services. For the literature basis behind our practice, please see Faculty Development Improves Teaching and Learning.
Evidence-based: We value and promote approaches to teaching and learning that emerge through sustained research and investigation.
Collaborative: We believe that we are our most innovative and effective when we bring together varied perspectives, foster the open exchange of ideas, and celebrate each other’s expertise in an interdisciplinary community.
Reflective: We create strong foundations for lifelong learning through the habits of observing, taking stock, and planning intentionally for growth.
Inclusion: We support the university’s diversity, inclusion, and equity goals through a strengths-based approach that recognizes that this work must be a thread that weaves through the fabric of what it means to teach and learn at Brown community.
In 1987, former Dean of the College Harriet W. Sheridan founded the Center for the Advancement of College Teaching to establish an interdisciplinary forum dedicated to improving the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning at Brown and to prepare graduate students for faculty careers. Since her death in 1992, the Center, comprised of its staff working in collaboration with its advisory groups and faculty, post-doctoral and graduate students from across the University, has supported the professional development needs of the entire Brown teaching community. In 1997, the Brown Corporation renamed the Center “The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning” in her memory. From 2003-2016, the Center was located in the Frederick Lippitt and Mary Ann Lippitt House at 96 Waterman Street. The Center moved to the fifth and seventh floors of the Science Library building in 2016, coincident with its integration with the Writing Center, tutoring, and English language support. In 2020, the Sheridan Center integrated with the Science Center, as well as Digital Learning & Design, and moved to report to the Office of the Provost. To learn more about the Center’s history, see Artful Teaching: A Brief History of the Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, 1987-2007.